It’s happened to all of us one time or other. We’re driving the fairways. We’re hitting our irons solidly. And we’re sinking putts left and right. Then something happens—a bad drive, a chunked iron, a missed putt. Whatever it is, it shifts things. We start making mis-takes—both mental and physical. Our game goes downhill from there on. Instead of fi-nishing with a solid round, we end up with a less than stellar score.
If you’re serious about achieving a low golf handicap, you must know how to recover when you lose it like this. Quick mid-round fixes help you recover when things start going south and regain both your rhythm and timing. That in turn boosts confidence—the key as we tell students in our golf instructions sessions to having a great round. Below are four simple mid-round fixes that will help you right the ship and boost your confi-dence when things start going wrong.
Straighten Out A Slice
Slicing can really impact scores, so you need to correct this quickly, if you want to have a good round. Two things contribute to a slice: an open clubface at impact and an overly steep downswing. When these two things join in a swing, look out for banana balls.
One way to cure slicing is to flatten your swing a little. This means rotating your hands and arms over one another through the swing. To groove this motion take practice swings on a side hill (with about 15 percent slope) with the ball above your feet. Doing this flat-tens your swing and squares your clubface.
Is there anything more embarrassing than chunking a shot? But players with low golf handicaps chunk shots periodically. When you start doing it during a round that spells trouble. Chunking usually stems from not transferring your weight correctly in the down-swing. The result: you start hitting the ground behind the ball.
We teach students in golf lessons a simple technique to stop chunking. Place a head cover about six inches behind your ball. This forces you to avoid hitting the obstacle, which you can only do by transferring your weight correctly. This allows the club to “bottom out” at the right point in your swing and improves contact.
Shedding The Shanks
If you’ve ever had the shanks, you know how devastating they can be. They can really undermine a solid round. When you shank, you hit the ball off the club’s heel. This hap-pens in two ways—by either “coming over the top” or by “getting stuck.” Either way hurts your swing. In both cases, your hands are too far away from your body.
To stop shanking, brush your hands against your pants when making your downswing. You want to get as close to your body as possible getting hung up on them. When you do that, you end up strike the ball with a good center hit, just the way we teach students in golf instruction sessions.
Back On Track
The path of your putter determines the ball’s direction. A putterhead going from outside the target line to inside usually makes the ball go left (right for a left-handed putter). A putterhead going from inside the target line to outside makes the ball go right. Good put-ters generally have a putterhead path that travels inside the target line to square at impact then back to the inside.
Losing your putting stroke during a match is the kiss of death. You’ll make more shots with the putter than any other club in your bag. If you’re struggling to find your stroke, find an area on the fringe that has a slight arc. Place the toe of the club against it, then make some swings and trace the path. This simple drill not only re-aligns your putting stroke, it also encourages a proper release.
The best cure for a bad round is a good post-round session. But when you’re playing well and you suddenly lose it, you need to recover quickly. Players with low golf handicaps usually do. The simple drills described above will help you not only re-gain your form, but also re-build your confidence.